"With the forvision smart is doing justice to its role as Daimler's think tank for urban mobility. We are presenting numerous world premieres that make uncompromising electric mobility possible. With the clear objective of greatly increasing the zero-emission range we concerned ourselves with all factors that influence this on the vehicle. This resulted in completely new concepts and materials in the areas of insulation, reflection, lightweight design and energy management. In addition to transparent organic solar cells, transparent and energy-saving light-emitting diodes and infrared-reflective films and coatings, high-performance foams are used for insulation against cold and heat. smart is also setting new standards of lightweight design with the use of the first all-plastic wheels", says Dr. Annette Winkler, Head of smart. "In conjunction with smart's revolutionary DNA, we have designed a vehicle that is so unique that we can't wait to take it out of the research laboratory and onto the roads!"
The hexagonal transparent areas on the roof of the smart forvision are an eye-catching feature – as the first light-transmitting roof that also generates energy. Transparent solar cells covering the entire roof surface are the technology used here. They are based on organic dyes embedded in a sandwich roof. The transparent dyes of the solar cells are light-activated. Even in diffused light and poor light conditions they generate enough energy to power the multimedia components and the three fans that assist with climate management in the vehicle interior. If the vehicle is standing in the sun the ventilation is permanently operated with the help of these solar cells, keeping the car cool. This new photovoltaic technology opens up further efficiency potential and the energy generated can be used for further applications in the car.
There is an additional new feature under the solar cells: transparent OLEDs (organic light-emitting diodes) illuminate the vehicle interior when the door is opened or a button pressed. When switched off they allow for a clear view outside. This results in a glass roof effect during the daytime, whilst the areas are pleasantly illuminated without any dazzle at night. Thanks to a free choice of colours the new OLEDs do not only offer more design freedom, they also consume less than half as much energy as conventional energy-saving lamps.
In the smart forvision there are the first all-plastic wheel suitable for high-volume production. In its current development status, the wheel developed by BASF from a new high-performance material results in a considerable weight saving of three kilograms per wheel. Unlike conventional polyamide composite materials this new plastic has long reinforcing fibres which improve its mechanical properties.
In addition to the tridion passenger cell, further components such as the doors are made of carbon-fiber-reinforced epoxy resin – a high-performance composite material. The use of such materials enables a weight saving of more than 50 percent to be achieved compared with steel, or 30 percent compared with aluminium.
Numerous studies have shown that the body only absorbs heat efficiently through certain contact points. This is why "e-textiles" – thin fabrics with custom-tailored conductive coatings – replace conventional seat heating in the smart forvision. With direct heating close to the body in the middle and lower back area of the seats they provide for a pleasant feeling of warmth. The energy, space and weight-saving e-textile technology is also found in the armrests of the doors and ensures that body contact points sensitive to the cold are also warmed in this area.
Painted in pearl white and accentuated by the tridion safety cell coated with a copper-coloured liquid metal paint, there is a deliberate connection between the basic structure of the smart forvision and the design of the smart fortwo. Trendy yet high quality – the aluminium flakes in the liquid metal paintwork create a reflecting surface on the safety cell, changing between light and dark depending on the viewer's perspective. Both the panels and the cell of the smart forvision are additionally painted with an extremely scratch-resistant clear coat. The jet-like rear lights are reminiscent of small aircraft turbines and give the rear a futuristic and sporty look. Inside the lights, small propellers convey the air from the inside to the outside. In addition to all the light functions needed, transparent stacks in the form of rings around the lights also show the charge status of the battery during charging. The headlamps are emphasised by a ring comprising the daytime driving lights and indicator functions. The lights add to the likeable expression of the smart forvision.
With a mix of polygonal surfaces and organic shapes the interior of the smart forvision builds a bridge to the architectural design handwriting of the exterior. This also applies to the colour concept: a cool white dominates in the interior as well, accentuated by the inner part of the instrument panel in liquid copper. Hexagons in the form of white rubber nubs on a white floor are a reference to the design idiom of the overall vehicle, as is the tone-in-tone design of the seat upholstery.
The faceted surface of the side doors is also found on their inside. The polygonal surfaces with integrated armrests and stowage compartments curve into the interior. They are painted in the body colour and feature coloured LEDs. These guide the driver with a light animation running from the outside to the inside when the door is opened and closed. After closing the door the animation changes to unobtrusive ambient lighting.
The elliptical user interface with a copper coloured frame – matching the lightweight tridion – is semi-transparent when switched off. When the vehicle is switched on all cockpit information is then projected onto the transparent surface. The driver uses a touchscreen to switch between operating menus. The white steering wheel that is reminiscent of an aircraft yoke additionally gives the cockpit a futuristic look. As well as function buttons the LED display for the battery charge status is found here.